Update: 2007-02-10 11:25 PM -0500



Burmese Written Language in Roman Script


U Kyaw Tun, M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), Deep River, Ontario, Canada. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students of TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, MYANMAR .

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Group {na.thut}
With medials:
- {ya.ping.}; {ra.ris}; {wa.hsw:}; {ha.hto:}
- {ya.ping. wa.hsw:}; {ra.ris wa.hsw:}; {ya.ping. ha.hto:}; {ra.ris ha.hto:}; {wa.hsw: ha.hto:}
- {ya.ping. wa.hsw: ha.hto:}; {ra.ris wa.hsw: ha.hto:}

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Group {na.thut}

Rime: {an} {n} {ain} {oan} {n} {aun} {ein}

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With medials in the onset

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02. with onset medial {ya. ping.}

{kyan} /|kjan|/ - v. remain; be left behind. -- MEDict035
{kyan:} /|kjan:|/ - v. 1. be hardy and strong. -- MEDict035
{kyain} /|kjein|/ - v. 1. curse. -- MEDict035
{kyain:} /|kjein:|/ - v. 1. (of sacred objects) reside, lie; (of holy persons) sleep). -- MEDict035

{hkyan} /|chan|/ - v. 1. leave out; omit; leave behind. -- MEDict073
{hkyain} /|chein|/ - v. 1. weigh (as in "weighing something") -- MEDict073
{hkyain:} /|chein:|/ - v. make an appointment; fix time (to do something). -- MEDict074
{hkyoan:} /|choun:|/ - v. emit a loud explosive noise (a thunder clap) -- MEDict074

{gyain-hpau.} /gjein hpo.|/ - n. Jinghpaw: one of the Kachin speaking natives of Myanmar. -- MEDict089

{dyan.} /|dajan.|/ - n. method of plucking two different strings
   of a Myanmar harp in combination. -- MEDict216

{hpyan} /|hpjan|/ - v. Same as {hpi} - v. separate -- MEDict306, 306
{hpyan:} /|hpjan:|/ - v. 1. sprinkle -- MEDict306

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03. With onset medial {ra. ris}

{kran.kra} /|kjan. gja|/ - v. be slow, tardy, delayed. -- MEDict044
{kran} /|kjan|/ - n. distinctive, significant. prominent sign or mark (of body, earth, etc). -- MEDict044

{pran.} /|pjaan.|/ - adj. 1. flat and even; level. -- MEDict292
{pran} /|pjan|/ - v. 1. return -- MEDict291
{prain-hpying:} /|pjein hpjin:|/ - adj. (of speech) trivial; (of person) worthless. -- MEDict292
{prain:} /|pjein:|/ - adj. crass; ignorant; stupid. -- MEDict292
{proan:} /|pjoun:|/ - v. 1. be depleted. -- MEDict092

{hpran.} /|hpjan.|/ - v. 1. spread; spread out -- MEDict309
{hpran:} /|hpjan:|/ - v. 1. bluff -- MEDict309
{hproan:} /|hpjoun:|/ - v. waste; squander. -- MEDict309

{mran} /|mjan|/ - adj. quick; swift; fast; rapid. -- MEDict373
{mran:} /|mjan:|/ - v. 1. (of parents of the prospective bridegroom) make overtures for a marriage. -- MEDict373
{mrain.mrain.} /|mjein. mjein.|/ - adv. with aplomb; with a lordly mein. -- MEDicit073
{mrain} /|mjein|/ - v. relish; enjoy. -- MEDict373
{mroan.} /|mjain.|/ - v. jut; protrude. -- MEDict373

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04. With onset medial {wa. hsw:}

UKT: I had always thought that pronouncing the letter <w> was easy, until I ran into transliteration of Burmese-Myanmar {wa.hsw:} medial as the syllable onset and the killed {na.} in the coda. Incidentally, my last name is spelled {htw_n:} (I have left the peak vowel missing to emphasize my problem. Should it be {htwan:} or {htun:}? Moreover, how is the letter <u> as the peak vowel in an English syllable pronounced? See excerpts from DJPD16 in my notes: pronouncing <w>; pronouncing <u>. But, actually, the question of writing my name in Romabama is a non-question, because Romabama is a transliteration, and not a transcription. And my name must be spelled {htwan:}, and pronounced as /{htun:}/ in Romabama transcription and /|htun:|/ in MLC transcription. And, you are at liberty to call me /{htwan:}/ if you are from Rakhine or Yaw, or /{htun:}/ if you are from the Irrawaddy basin which is also known as the central Myanmar.

{kwan.} /|kun.|/ - v. 1. go forth; set off -- MEDict047
{kwan} /|kun|/ - v. soar. n. net; casting net; cast-net.ct -- MEDict047
{kwan:} /|kun:|/ - n. 1. temporary rest-house for the royalty. -- MEDict047

{hkwan} /|khun|/ - n. long-handled ax. -- MEDict082
{hkwan:} /|khun:|/ - n. speech -- MEDict082

{swan.} /|sun.|/ - v. 1. throw away; discard; disown. -- MEDict128
{swan} /|sun|/ - n. kite (bird as well as one flown on a string). -- MEDict128
{swan:} /|sun:|/ - v. 1. be stained; be smeared -- MEDict129

{hswan.} /|hsun.|/ - v. be scarce. -- MEDict147

{zwan} /|zun|/ - n. small fragrant white flower; Jasminum auriculatum . -- MEDict153
{zwan:} /|zun:|/ - n. spoon. -- MEDict153

{wan.} /|njun.|/ - v. 1. taper upward. -- MEDict158
{wan} /|njun|/ - n. marsh; mire; alluvium; silt deposited on the bank of a river. -- MEDict158

{twan.} /|tun.|/ - v. 1. wrinkle; crease -- MEDict193
{twan} /|tun|/ - v. make a vocal sound; crow; cry; bellow; hiss; break wind -- MEDict193
{twan:} /|tun:|/ - v. 1. push -- MEDict193

{htwan} /|htun|/ - v. harrow; till. -- MEDict207
{htwan:} /|htun:|/ - v. 1. light (lamp) -- MEDict207

{dwan} /|dun twe:|/ - v. be in pairs; be together. -- MEDict216

{pwan} /|pun|/ - v. accomplish; be accomplished, proficient
   (usually used in combinations, such as {ky-pwan}) -- MEDict295
{pwan:} /|pun:|/ - v. 1. suffer abrasion; be rubbed off -- MEDict295

{hpwan:} /|hpun:|/ - n. Hpon : Tibet-Myanmar speaking ethnic group
   inhabiting the area near the third defile of the Ayeyarwady river. -- MEDict311

{mwan} /|mum|/ - adj. noble; good. -- MEDict375
{mwan:} /|mum:|/ - n. midday; noon (used only in collocations such as) -- MEDict375

{ywan:} /|jun:|/ - adj. veering (course or direction) -- MEDict388

{lwan.} /|lun.|/ - v. wriggle; writhe. -- MEDict462
{lwan} /|lun|/ - n. rope. -- MEDict462
{lwan:} /|lun:|/ - n. strand or ply for making ropes. -- MEDict462

{thwan} /|thun|/ - v. pour out; spill. shed; empty; go all-out -- MEDict527
{thwan:} /|thun:|/ - v. 1. pour (liquid) -- MEDict527

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05. With onset medial {ha. hto:}

{mhan} /|hman|/ - adj. right; correct; true. -- MEDict378
{mhan:} /|hman:|/ - v. 1. estimate; gauge; guess. -- MEDict378

{rhan.} /|shan.|/ - v. flinch; shrink. -- MEDict420
{rhan-ka} /|shan ka|/ - n. chancre. (English: <chancre>) -- MEDict420

{lhan.} /|hlan.|/ - v. frighten; scare; cause an alarm -- MEDict466
{lhan} /|hlan|/ - v. 1. change or reverse position of things; turn inside out; turn up. -- MEDict466
{lhan:} /|hlan:|/ - v. dry (things) in the sun; put out to dry. -- MEDict466

{whan} /|hwun|/ - v. transcend; overwhelm; flood -- MEDict484
{whan:} /|hwun:|/ - v. surmount; soar -- MEDict484

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06. With onset medial {ya.ping. wa.hsw:}

{kywan} /|kjun|/ - n. slave. -- MEDict049
{kywan:} /|kjun:|/ - n. 1. island. -- MEDict049

{hkywan} /|chun|/ - v. 1. sharpen to a point. -- MEDict083
{hkywan:} /|chun:|/ - n. 1. iron hook or goad to drive an elephant. -- MEDict083

UKT: I have always wondered why the Westerners could never refer to themselves  as {kywan-tau}, and always say {hkywan-tau}. Now, I know. It is because the English-Latin <k> sounds more like <hka.> than <ka.>. Why this pronunciation, {hkywan-tau}, has always bother me, is, because the word {hkywan} in {hkywan-tau} means "to sharpen". In effect, {hkywan-tau} means the speaker is a "sharp" person always creating trouble for others.

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07. With onset medial {ra.ris wa.hsw:}

{prwyan} /|pjun|/ - n. tube; pipe; conduit; duct; vessel. -- MEDict296

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08. With onset medial {ya.ping ha.hto:}

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09. With onset medial {ra.ris ha.hto:}

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10. With onset medial {wa.hsw: ha.hto:}

{an} {n} {ain} {oan} {n} {aun} {ein}
{mhwan} /|hmun|/ - v. 1. suffocated by air-borne fumes or particles. -- MEDict381
{mhwan:} - v. 2. make a number of shallow incisions
  (as with a knife on a fish to allow salt to enter before cooking.) -- MEDict381

{rhwan:} /|shun:|/ - adj. bright; shining; brilliant (as of light) -- MEDict423.

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11. With onset medial {ya.ping. wa.hsw: ha.hto:}
No such combination is found in Myan-Ortho. However, this combination is possible.

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12. With onset medial {ra.ris wa.hsw: ha.hto:}

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UKT note

Pronouncing the English-Latin letter <w>

DJPD16 p584.
The consonant letter [w] is most often realised as /w/, e.g.:

<wet> - /wet/
<swing> - /swɪŋ/


Note <sw> corresponds to Burmese-Myanmar {swa.} (or, (because of the absence of corresponding c2 consonants in English-Latin), {hswa.}. A native Burmese-Myanmar speaker can differentiate the two medials: {swa.} /|swa.|/ and {hswa.} /|hswa.|/. However, other native Myanmars, such as Karen-Myanmars, cannot differentiate the two medials, or, may say them in the opposite way. (I am wondering, if this is similar to the pronunciation of the word "shibboleth" in the Christian Bible, Judges 12:4-6, where it is told that thousands lost their lives in a single day just because they could not pronounce a single word correctly.

Notice that in English <swing> - /swɪŋ/ , <w> is pronounced.
Furthermore, notice that in the word <swing> /swɪŋ/, the <g> is silent. Contrast with <finger> /'fɪŋ.gəʳ/ US <-gɚ>.
Burmese-Myanmars should note that the English word <swing> is close to //. Not to //.

Because of these considerations, the transcription of <swing> to Burmese-Myanmar is: // {swing:} or // {hswing:}. I am sure, many in Myanmar would disagree with me.

I have asked myself, how to write my own name Tun in Romabama: Should it be {htwan:} or {htun:}? If <w> is pronounced as in <swing> then it should be {htwan:} which is what my father's Arakanese used to call me in their dialect. However, none would call me {htwan:} in Yangon. My friend U Tun Tint from Yaw area told me the Tun in his name would be pronounced as {htwan:} in his native Yaw. Continue reading.

In addition: [w] can be silent. There are four conditions under which this can occur. In the spelling combination [wr] , [w] is not pronounced and the realisation is /r/. In some instances of [tw] when at the beginning of a word, the pronunciation is /t/. Some word-medial [sw] spellings are pronounced /s/. Finally, in (mostly) British place names ending [-wich], [w] is not normally pronounced, although exceptions do exist. E.g.:

<write> - /raɪt/
<two> - /tuː/
<answer> - /ˈɑːnt.səʳ/ (US) /ˈn.sɚ/
<Greenwich> - /ˈgren.ɪʤ/

If <w> is silent as in the <two> /tu:/, then I would have to write my name as {htun:}. And my friends from the central regions of Myanmar would approve. However, Romabama is a transliteration, NOT a transcription. Therefore, my name is {htwan:}, but the pronunciation is {htun:}.

The examples given above are for [w] in word or syllable-initial position. The letter [w] can also appear at the end of a word or syllable. These instances of [w] are covered at the panels for [aw] and [ow].

In words borrowed from German, [w] may be pronounced /v/. Words borrowed from Slavic may have /v/ or /f/. E.g.:

<Wagner> - /ˈwɑːg.nəʳ/ US /-nɚ/
<Krakow> - /ˈkrk.ɒv , -ɒf/ US /ˈkrɑː.kʊf/

Go back pronun-w-b

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Pronouncing the English-Latin letter <u>

DJPD16 p555.
The vowel letter [u] has several strong pronunciations linked to spelling. 'Short' pronunciations include /ʌ/ and /ʊ/.

UKT: One of the first problem faced by a Myanmar ESL learner is pronouncing the letters [ut] in <put> /pʊt/ and <but> /bʌt/. The corresponding sounds in Burmese-Myanmar are /ʊt/ and /ʌt/. After you've looked at the example <bull>, you will notice that <u> and <w> (remember the name of the letter "double u"), produce almost the same sound.

'Long' pronunciations include /uː/ and /juː/. In 'short' pronounced /ʌ/, the [u] is generally followed by a consonant letter which ends the word, or a double consonant before another vowel. Words containing /ʊ/  which end with a consonant sound often have two consonant letters finally, a notable exception being <put> /pʊt/, e.g.:

<tub> - /tʌb/  -- {tupb} compare to {takb}
<tubby> - /ˈtʌb.i/
<bull> - /bʊl/  -- {bu:l} or
<bully> - /ˈbʊl.i/

UKT: While keeping in mind that there is no ( {ba.thut}), and ( {la.thut}) spellings are rare in Burmese-Myanmar, if we are to transcribe <tub> and <bull> from English to Burmese, we would write: {tupb} and {bul:}.

The 'long' pronunciations usually mean the [u] is followed by a single consonant letter and then a vowel, e.g.:

<tube> /tjuːb/ US /tuːb/
<tubing> /ˈtjuː.bɪŋ/ US /ˈtuː-/
<supervise> /ˈsuː.pə.vaɪz/ US /-pɚ-/

In word initial position, the 'long' pronunciation is almost always pronounced /juː/, e.g.:

<unique> /juːˈniːk/
<useful> /ˈjuːs.fəl/

However, there are exceptions to these guidelines, e.g.:

<study> /ˈstʌd.i/
<sugar> /ˈʃʊg.əʳ/ US /-ɚ/
<truth> /truːθ/

When [u] is followed by [r], the strong pronunciation is one of several possibilities:
/jʊə , jɔː (us) jʊr/ , /ʊə , ɔː (us) ʊr/ , /ɜː (us) ɝː/ , or /ʌ (us) ɝː/ , e.g.:

<cure> /kjʊəʳ , kjɔːʳ/ US /kjʊr/
<plural> /ˈplʊə.rəl , ˈplɔː-/ US /ˈplʊr.əl/
<burn> /bɜːn/ US /bɝːn/
<hurry> /ˈhʌr.i/ US /ˈhɝː.i/

In weak syllables

The vowel letter [u] is realised as one of /jə/, /jʊ/, /ə/ or /ʊ/ in weak syllables, e.g.:

<failure> /ˈfeɪ.ljəʳ/ US /ˈfeɪl.jɚ/
<accurate> /ˈk.jə.rət , -jʊ/ US /-jɚ.ət, -jʊ.rət/
<status> /ˈsteɪ.təs/ US /-stt̬əs/
<July> /ʤʊˈlaɪ/

It may also result in a syllabic consonant, e.g.:

<hopeful> /ˈhəʊp.fəl , -fʊl/ US /ˈhoʊp-/

Go back pronun-u-b

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n. 1. A dull red, hard, insensitive lesion that is the first manifestation of syphilis. 2. An ulcer located at the initial point of entry of a pathogen. [French from Old French from Latin cancer tumor, crab; See kar- in Indo-European Roots.] -- AHTD
Go back chancre-b

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End of TIL file